A Confession

As you may remember, I left you on something of a cliff-hanger in my last post:

I had a novel submission to get off to the RNA by midnight last Friday and I still had to prepare my 4 workshops for the NAWG Fest 2019, which was also starting on Friday.

Would I do it? Or would I …

Reader, I failed.

Now, I was going to lie. Or at least, ‘omit’ to tell you that I didn’t send off my novel manuscript because, quite frankly, I am ashamed and embarrassed. (And kicking myself at a lost opportunity and a lost £135 because that’s what I paid to re-join the New Writers’ Scheme in January and I principally joined for the manuscript critique. Ha! *gives hollow laugh*).

I also feel bad because I effectively wasted a place on that scheme that someone else (someone organised, who could have benefitted from it!), could have taken. Sorry, if that was you.

Anyway, it’s water under the bridge now, so I’m not going to bore you with all the details harp on about it. Suffice to say, I thought I should ‘fess up’ because it’s easy to show an edited ‘golden’ version of your writing life on social media and blogs (i.e.: just the good times and the successes) and I think it’s only fair to show the bad bits too. Because we all have them.

NAWGFest 2019

On a more positive note, I DID prepare my 4 workshops for NAWG Fest in good time, they were all really well attended and seemed to be well received and I had a great time and met lots of lovely people.

The guest speakers at the Gala Dinner on Saturday night, were husband-and-wife crime writing duo Sean French and Nicky Gerrard, who write as ‘Nicci French’ and guess what… I sat next to them at dinner! I felt very honoured and it was lovely to be able to chat to them both before they stood up at the end of the meal to give their (excellent) talk.

NAWG, in case you’re wondering (and it does sound a bit like you’ve got an adenoid problem when you say it), stands for ‘National Association of Writers’ Groups’.

You can join as a writing group, obviously or also as an individual and they run several writing competitions a year, which you can enter for free as part of your membership (plus, as a member, you get a discount on the annual Festival).

But you can attend all or part of the Festival, for a slightly higher fee, even if you’re not a member of the Association, which was something I hadn’t realised. All the deets, as they say, are on their website, PLUS, if you’re interested, they’ve got an open short story competition with a theme of Betrayal, which closes on 30th November.

It was strange to be back at Warwick University for NAWGFest, as I used to work there 8 or 9 years ago. I was actually teaching my short story workshops in the Humanities building, just yards away from my old office and old department. But in those days, I was part of the admin team (ahem, you’ll know this if you’ve ever worked at a University – unless you are at the very least a lecturer, you’re a nobody, regardless of how many degrees or qualifications you’ve got).

This time, I was there as a teacher, with my own class. As I strolled down the corridors, enjoying myself a million times more than I ever did when I worked there, I had a little swagger in my step, I must admit.

Me, with my winning envelope!

Another bit of good news: over the weekend I won a Writers Bureau course in the raffle!

I used to work for the Writers Bureau, as a poetry tutor, so that’s another example of things coming ‘full circle’: now, instead of being a tutor, I’m going to be one of their students.

I will keep you posted on which course I decide to choose but maybe ‘Writing Articles’. I do write the odd (very odd!) article but I’ve never really spread my wings (it’s only ever been for one or two publications) and perhaps this will be the push I need to start getting my work out there a little more.

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6 Responses to A Confession

  1. juliathorley says:

    Bless you for your honesty! Sometimes we just have to face up to the fact that we can’t do everything and let something go, so well done for doing this. You have plenty of successes to celebrate. Let me know if you have any lucky breaks with the articles – a subject close to my heart. Onwards!

    • Thanks, Julia. I have stopped beating myself up now. It was just going to be a massively stressful few days to try to get something in any kind of shape to send off and my husband (still can’t get used to saying that) said, “Why are you putting yourself through all this?” and of course, he was right. Sometimes you just have to let go ….

  2. Sharon boothroyd says:

    I value your honesty Helen. I think it’s time we admitted that sometimes a writer’s life is not as good as it’s made out. I’ve just come out of a month long fed- up fog. It was really difficult to stay motivated. However, I can see clear light now. Well done on your raffle prize!

  3. banksywrites says:

    Thanks for your honesty, and try not to feel too bad about it. Considering all your other amazing achievements, you’re allowed the odd ‘slip’ 🙂 Lucky you meeting the Nicci French ‘team’. I’d’ve loved to have listened to that talk. What a pair! Btw, I finally got around to downloading Paperchase and The Sunshine Board, and thoroughly enjoyed both anthologies. I remember reading some of the stories first time round in PF, and liked them just as much the second time.

    • Thanks, Clare, that’s kind of you! Yes, you can’t do everything, can you? Realised that I need to ‘slim-line’ my activities and commitments somewhat! I am not superwoman! (sadly). Hope all’s well with you!

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